Can I be ‘punished’ for not wearing a bra to work?

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Can I be ‘punished’ for not wearing a bra to work?

I was written up and given a verbal
warning at work because someone noticed
I want wearing a bra. I never wear a bra
and was hired not wearing a bra. The
employee handbook doesn’t mention
required undergarments and I’m not the
only person that doesn’t wear bras but I
am the only person that got reprimanded
while being told ‘this is a professional
work environment you never know who
could be walking by’ can this write up
be enforced or can I fight it?

Asked on January 26, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

An employer can set dress codes and can require workers to perform their job duties in a way that is professional and appropriate to the workplace. In other words, in a way which will not offend customers/clients/co-workers. This includes not dressing in an overly sexual (i.e. revealing) way. Accordingly, if you do not correct the issue, absent an employment contract or union agreement to the contrary, you can be disciplined up to and including termination.   There really is no way to delicately say this: you need to simply say that her dress is too revealing or immodest or unprofessional and that she needs to change it.  If you have HR or other managers at work, having someone else join you in the conversation with her--any sensitive consveration is best witnessed.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Employers can set dress codes, and even when they do not have a formal code, if an employee's dress or appearance is deemed unacceptable, they can be disciplined--up to and including being terminated--unless they have a written employment contract baring discipline for this reason or putting in place some progressive discipinary process which must be followed. If someone complained about your appearance or the employer otherwise thought it inappropriate for the workspace, yes, they can do this.


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